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The global state of digital transformation: Survey

Titled the “Fujitsu Future Insights Global Digital Transformation Survey Report 2018”, the research is designed to provide insights into the global state of digital transformation. There is a particular focus on artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and other newer technologies. The survey follows-up on a previous review undertaken by the Japanese multinational information technology equipment and services company in 2017.

The analysis of the results shows the current state of many initiatives across an array of companies and the challenges that hamper digital transformation efforts. The survey reveals that current progress towards digital transformation is far from uniform. Some of these variations are sector specific; other variations are occurring within sectors, with some companies running ahead of others.

According to Fujitsu, a one-size-fits-all analysis of digital transformation is inappropriate and sector specific analysis is more appropriate. This means that those wishing to understand the nuances of digital transformation should perhaps shy away from more generalized inferences and focus on surveys specific to their respective sectors.

Examining these motivating factors for digital transformation across different industry sectors reveals different drivers. For example, with finance, manufacturing, and healthcare, those making the key decisions are mostly concerned with the necessity to boost operational efficiency.

In contrast, transportation companies are more focused on the need to react to competitive threats. Whereas, with the retail sector there is a strong concern with building business growth and with maintaining a competitive advantage.

In general terms, comparing results from 2017 with those of 2018, more companies across all industries report that they are achieving measurable business results through their digital transformation initiatives.

In terms of the process, the survey results suggest that the finance sector is the most advanced in terms of successful digital transformation initiatives. The data suggests that around 90 percent of the respondents from financial services companies report they are actively engaged in digital transformation. In both finance and retail, the survey shows that 30 percent of projects have delivered successful outcomes to date.

Of all the technologies reviewed, artificial intelligence was called out as the one most likely to have the biggest impact across industry (as well as for wider society). Most respondents (68 percent) hold a positive outlook for artificial intelligence, taking the view that people and artificial intelligence will work collaboratively.

In a companion article, six factors for success drawn out from the survey are examined. See: “Six factors for successful digital transformation.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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